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Orioles closer Bautista to have Tommy John surgery

Felix Bautista Baltimore Orioles Felix Bautista - The Canadian Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Orioles reliever Félix Bautista will have Tommy John surgery next month and miss the playoffs and likely the entire 2024 season.

The 28-year-old right-hander was placed on the 15-day injured list on Aug. 26, one day after he was hurt during a game against the Colorado Rockies.

“That was kind of the long-term conclusion as soon as we had our arms around the injury,” general manager Mike Elias said Saturday.

Bautista also agreed to a $2 million, two-year contract that calls for $1 million salaries in each of the next two season. Bautista also would get a $50,000 bonus for All-Star selection, $100,000 for winning the Mariano Rivera/Trevor Hoffman reliever of the year award and $50,000 for becoming a Rivera/Hoffman finalist. Bautista would have been eligible for salary arbitration after the 2024 season.

Bautista had hoped to return for the postseason Baltimore's first postseason appearance since 2016. The AL East champions open the Division Series on Oct. 7.

“To Félix’s credit, bless his heart, he realized there might be a window to keep his arm throwing, up and running,” Elias said. “But we just ran out of time for this to be a feasible and successful option for the postseason, and it stopped making sense, so we went ahead and scheduled the surgery. There’s nothing that changed or nothing that happened in the last couple of weeks that he’s been throwing.”

Bautista was 8-2 with a 1.48 ERA and 33 saves in 39 chances. The first-time All-Star struck out 110 of 237 batters.

“He should be back to being Félix Bautista in the spring of 2025,” Elias said.